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Vico’s Ring


«For out of the passions of men each bent on his private ad-

vantage, for the sake of which they would live like wild beasts in

the wilderness, it has made the civil institutions by which they

may live in human society» (§ 133)



There is more to the “semicontravariant” functor than these

three constants and “providence”, but they may suffice to pro-

vide evidence of its presence in his epistemology; while our lan-

guage is anachronistic, the concept and reality underlying it, is

not. Rather than considering these non-theoretical factors as het-

erogeneous, or

ad hoc

, to the theoretical framework, their inclu-

sion is a signal achievement


, and as we labored to argue, rather

the final essential epistemic piece according to our functorially-

oriented framework


. It also leads us to observe that, in effect,

we are dealing with two distinct “circular” processes, one of

which entangles – productively – “philosophy” and “philology”,

and the other, “philology” and the historical human world in its

cultural and socio-political dimensions


. And when speaking of

circularity, a distinction needs to be made between the “left-to-

right arrows” and “right-to-left arrows” that taken together make

up a “circle”, since forgetful and (semi)contravariant functors are

not simply reciprocal


. It does not preclude the use of tradition-

al and time-tested approaches in scientific inquiry, such as induc-

tion, deduction, hypothetico-deductive method, theory and con-


a priori,

a posteriori

, and variants and combinations

thereof; however, they are best seen, and incorporated, as mere

moments of the overall gnoseological movement, without pre-

tension of standing for the whole. If the question is raised

whether Vico’s tendency is toward the empirical or the ration-

al/ideal, it would need to be modified to include also the theoret-

ical. If he is labelled at all, one would therefore have to allow

“theorist” in addition to “empiricist” and “rationalist”, but any

of these labels lose their meaning in the context of the insepara-

ble interactions of all three spheres


. The resultant inherent ep-

istemic instability and tension reflect the reality, and actual pro-